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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 7, 2013 12:00am-2:01am EST

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today's politics. ext, former secretary of state hillary clinton receiving the next former secretary of state hillary clinton receiving the lanto foundation. also speakingion madeleine all served as secretary of state under bill clinton. they talked about the recent passing of south african mandela. nelson this is 25 minutes. >> thank you very much. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. thank you. please, thank you. you. your kindto mica for
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words and good morning. thank you to all of you. i'm thrilled to be here. are here to celebrate those who have dedicated their lives rights movement and we would be remiss if we did not speak as to mica did a little while ago to honor the passing movement'she greatest heros nelson mandela. he was an activist, a prisoner conscious, a statesman and above all a teacher and he taught us that the power of forgiveness is greater than the power of hate and the differences of race and matter less than our shared humanity. his presence on this earth will but his lessons will endure in the hearts of millions. in fact become a event as part of what tom talked about an awful
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lot. it is a sadness ma nelson thisla has passed from world but it is very much the tame kind of story that tom lantos talked about so much. we come together because of that blazer.inary trail a man admired from san mateo to pest.gton to bud da as much as we are all in awe of awe of his family and what a wonderful big family it is. if you spend more than five minutes talking to him you knew all about his 17 grand children two daughters and he would even include his dogs from headht the years in the count from benji and gigi to matsko. when asked how he defined andelf tom said first foremost i think of myself as the husband of a remarkable woman. [ applause ]
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the nearly 60 years they spent married together only brightened that twinkle in his eye. me at thisor having special event and for our friendship. we maintained that through the years we traveled together a lot. for everything that you do to make sure that the human rights that tom lit with you lit. he had a unique call to conscience of permanent vigilance against genocide,tion, oppression and antisemitism. democracy's staunchest defender and that was the core value of his existences. wasyou may not know that he also a staunch defender of the rights of women. to expand charge
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access to healthcare for women in africa, he promoted reproductive health in the united states and around the world. and he asked the tough questions those who obstructed women's progress and rights even when it didn't make news. so i'm especially delightd that we honor a dear friend of mine that bears his name. years been nearly to since i joined secretary clinton conferenceth world on women and her simple universal message human rights and women'srights rights are human rights became women denied many the opportunity to live with freedom and dignity. day in beijing is now a waterhead moment in the history of the women's rights movement. before that defining speech and ever since, hillary has been frontiers of human back againstshing
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inequality around the world and here at home. understands that women rights are human rights but also women's progress is human progress because we all benefit when women have the chance to in everyte fully aspect of life. the world needs the wisdom and strength and vision of all its people, not half. people say that democracy for all its limitations is the force for peace and prosperity. and i know hillary truly but she also knows that denying women their rights is one of the forces against peace and prosperity. she knows this because she has first hand. in her more recent in car nation as secretary of state, she carried the american flag to over 100 countries and delivered a message directly to its women the if it rattled government. she said i stand with you in shatter your glass
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ceiling the united states stands with you and they believed her. shattered almost every glass ceiling in her way and now she is pushing this work forward with her no ceilings enishtive at the clinton back aton which looks how far we have come since beijing and forward to the still have to make. if we can help give women the cycleto make choices the of poverty can be broke, health societiesimproved and better off. it behooves those of us who live in places where we have economic and political voice to help other women. but as much as the world today leaders, it needs vision. visionary.such a so much so she has been even departed her long predecessor eleanor roosevelt. after our does take
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mutual hero those of us who have she her abroad knows that doesn't just make appearances for other women for the sake of it. she really connects. sometimes when she meets womens rights leaders in countries that oppressive they ask if they can get a picture with her because they know that a picture hillary clinton means that they will not get harassed, abuse or attacked. she is the protector. i could go on and on about the she won and the initiatives she started and miles she traveled and lives lis she changed and rights she defended. powerfule most illustration is the fact that a simple picture with her can save life. it should come as surprise to thisutely no one that woman who is qualified for everything has prove ton be an mother and wife and lawyerr and advocate and
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first lady, senator and secretary of state and a really good friend. the ability unlike anybody else to look past the women's to help expand rights and human rights and people's rights and to speak out of the voiceless. i have always said that there is hell for place in women who don't help each other. madam secretary -- [ applause ] secretary, although it is 100 years away i think there is place for you next to eleanor roosevelt. congratulations on this special award. [ applause ]
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>> oh, my goodness. thank you. thank you very, very much. thank you. thank you and first to the thisordinary lantos family is, indeed, a great honor and an personal pleasure to have tom lantos around my neck. office or onin my
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phone asking me what i was going to do about something or with me on partner rights. of human and as all of you who are here you recognize the significance of the work that he did during his public career. he was a man of great courage and compassion and he had a wonderful partner in his wife and a fabulous support system with his daughters katrina and annette and their families. so i think we should give a round of applause to the entire lantos family here today.
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theeet on the day after us somehowiant among who by the pouty irof example of us caned how each choose how we will respond to injustices and grievances, those sorrows, and tragedies afflict all of human kind. mandela will be remembered for many things. he will be certainly remembered led, his dignity, his extraordinary understanding not just of how to bring democracy and freedom to his africa, but how important it was that he first
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freedom to himself. as i spent time with him in 1992 until just in i wasst year and a half, theys struck by depth of his his awareness, of live aow hard it is to of service,grity, one's combine within self-the contradictions that he lived with. a lawyer and a freedom fighter. and a a man of anger and of forgiveness.
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has so captured the hearts of people, not only in his own country, but as we are seeing with the outpouring of response to his death people around the world. i only hope that as we both mourn and celebrate the passing of this universally recognized and beloved figure that we remember he became that through an enormous amount of hard work on himself. the story has been told several times now in the coverage that i have watched of his passing about how he invited three of his prison guards to his inaugural festivities.
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i was there as a part of the american delegation for the inauguration, and i was there at the luncheon that was held back on the grounds of the president's house that had transitioned from the morning where i had breakfast with president de klerk to lunch that i had with president mandela. as he looked out, to the large gathering filled with dignitaries from everywhere, including people who had been part of the struggle itself against apartheid and who had supported that struggle, he made the point of thanking his jailers and pointing out of all the distinguished vip's who were there, he was most grateful that these men with whom he had exchanged words of recognition and acknowledgment of the other
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humanity over the course of that long imprisonment could be there as well. as we think about nelson mandela, it brings to mind very much to me tom lantos, because here were two men who had seen the worst that humanity can offer. those who had been objectively denied their right to be a jew in hungary during the holocaust or a black man in south africa during apartheid. they had every reason to come out, if not embittered, cynical, believing that for the rest of
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their lives the only thing that would matter was acquiring power, being able to demonstrate their influence, especially as against those who had denied them the right to be who they were. what always struck me about nelson mandela and tom lantos was the joy, the curiosity, the enthusiasm for life. they brought it with them out of the depths of such suffering. mandela told many people that he had to learn to forgive and he had to learn to leave his anger behind when he walked out of prison on february 11, 1990. or he would have remained a prisoner.
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a prisoner of his own feelings, of his own resentments. tom lantos, who escaped the worst example of inhumanity, decided to become an advocate for anyone anywhere who was facing the kind of fear that comes with standing up for yourself and your fellow men and women. so we honor two great men by being here today.
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two men with unconquerable souls. we acknowledge other human human rights activists who oversee this rise and who stand and who stand before us. each of them has also known what it is like to come up against government's powerful forces who are determined to squeeze the hope from your heart. to imprison your mind and break your spirit. another man stood up to that kind of oppression, escaped from it as tom escaped from the holocaust. he ran toward freedom. i am proud that the united states is the place that he ran toward. it was our country, thanks to
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tom lantos and others in this audience, who have held high the banner of human rights as not being something that is given to you, but something that you are endowed with. paul, thank you, you have stood your ground. you stood in the face of another horror that was almost unimaginable, the horror of genocide in our time. you saved and protected others. it was a great example not only of courage, but of compassion. as we gather here, we are reminded of those who have given so much to ensure that the hope
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that is represented in tom's legacy lives on. this foundation really embodies tom's spirit. it is quite humbling for people like madeline albright, my dear friend, and i, to know that secretaries of state come and go, but what remains is that profound commitment to making a difference in whatever position we find ourselves in standing up and speaking out for those who might otherwise never have a voice. i am deeply honored to be given this award, particularly on behalf of two causes that are
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near and dear to my heart, women's rights and internet freedom. i want to acknowledge publicly the great work that tom's grandson did for me in the state department and continues to do at the intersection of civil society and government. we can help people help themselves. they can make sure that their voices continue to be heard. i also think it is critical that we look broadly, globally, about why this mission that many of us embrace for the full participation of women and girls in society is so important. it is not just the right thing to do. it is not just the recognition that women and girls, just like
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men and boys, deserve the opportunity to live up to their own god-given potential. it is because we know that when women and girls participate in economies, economic growth is greater than it would be without them. where women and girls are given a chance to be educated and to get the health care that they deserve to have, we know that society benefits. where women and girls can participate in peacemaking and peace building as full members of society in trying to resolve conflicts, we know that resolution is more likely to be sustained. it is a great honor for me to have this award, but it is just a reminder of how much more we have yet ahead of us to accomplish.
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we have to make sure that tom's dreams, tom's life, the examples of the award recipients with us and those unable to come like the dalai lama and elie wiesel bring out each of us our own commitments to what we will do to further the cause of human rights, universal human rights, for every man, woman, boy and girl in the world. it is what tom would expect us to do to hold high his ideals. by accepting this award and by accepting this award and knowing that tom would not let me off the hook otherwise, it is something that i will continue to be committed to and every way that i can with every fiber of my being because the kind of
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world we want is a world in which the nelson mandelas and tom lantoses can be proud. [applause]
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>> i was tremendously grateful give me was going to another chance. i had breast cancer and i had survived that and now i was addiction.with and by golly, i made up my mind to survive that, too. program on first lady betty ford saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c span and monday night the series continues. >> i got upset with the president because they covered the firsthealth for few meetings i had and then they never showed up any more and so walking in the downstairs floor on the white i met this woman who was people.he press
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i said nobody ever covers my meeting. she said ms. carter, mental health is not a sexy issue. we toured the country and found out what was needed and developed legislation and passed of mental health systems act 1980. congress oneough he says jimmy was joinville lunch box tearily retired from the white house. it was put on the shelf. greateste of the disappointments of my life. rosslyn carter live and cspan. >> nelson mandela's death was one of the topics discussed at house briefing with jay carney. he took questions about the
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thethcare law and unemployment numbers released earlier today. over an hour.le >> i'm four minutes late. that. to apologize for >> you are 45 minutes early. >> you know, even in middle age you can turn over a new leaf. i know that it is infrequent that we are this close to on time and i want to say i owe you a standing apology on that. we are just having fun here. with that, i will wish you all a
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happy friday even though it is raining. and say that i have a topper. today, as part of the daily messaging effort to highlight specific benefits of the health care law that are already making a big difference, the white house and supporters of reform are focused on how growth and health care costs are at historically low levels along multiple dimensions. according to the most recent projections, health care spending grew at the slowest rate on record over the last three years. real per-person spending grew at a 1.3% rate. this was seen in medicare, medicaid, and private insurance. health care price inflation is at its lowest level in 50 years.
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healthcare law is currenting to this progress through provisions to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in medicare also produces cost and improving quality through a variety of innovative reforms including by providing incentives to hospitals to reduce the re-admissions rate. hhs is announcing new data showing that these incentives have avoided 130,000 readmissions for people following a hospital stay over the last two years. high readmission rates, patients having to be rehospitalized is costing patients and insurance companies. and if the patient is on medicare, taxpayers. it can be a sign of low quality care. overall, these trends are encouraging news for families and our economy.
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they feel more secure in their own budgets. businesses spend less on healthcare they can hire more workers. the past 45 months as you know, businesses here in the united states have created more jobs.00,000 new which is a perfect segue to something i just wanted to note. today, information that was released earlier this morning is jobs day and figures on job creation in november were announced. i think it is worth noting when you look at this graph, not only was the economy in freefall, job loss was terrible at the end of 2008 and early 2009 when president obama took office, and not only has the trajectory been
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consistently in the right direction, if you will note when we first began positive job creation in the wake of the great recession, it was right around when the affordable care act passed. this is obviously not a direct correlation. but we are moving in the right direction. the information i cited in the beginning about the positive effects of the affordable care act on reducing growth in health-care costs combined with the steady job creation we have seen for so many months reinforces a number of things. about the affordable care act and about the need the president a few days ago to continue to focus on those move in theng the right direction and increasing job growth even further. with that, i will take your
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questions. jim? >> on the president's travels to africa for the nelson mandela services, could you give us specific details of what the timing might be? there is a memorial service also a funeral. mr. mandela is also lying in state. and will the president invite former u.s. presidents to accompany him? >> thank you for those questions. i should have noted that for those of you that did not hear the president speak in the wake of the news of president mandela's death, i will point you to those remarks. all i can say is that president obama and the first lady will go to south africa next week to pay their respects to the memory of nelson mandela and participate in memorial events. at this point, i don't have more information on logistics.
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timing of the travel. that is all being worked out. in terms of others who are going to make that trip, i would refer to them at this time. we will have more information. fairly to have it quickly and when we do we will be able to provide it to you. to others whether they go, but would the president invite them to travel? point i don't want to get ahead of a process that is being worked on as i speak in timing ande logistics for the whole trip. when we have that information we will get it to you right away. >> on the jobs numbers you have been there and other white house officials have told us that the sequester would have dire consequences with job growth and with economic growth today's numbers obviously are a welcome surprise for you guys. is some of the austerity not having the effect that you predicted?
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>> i would not look to what we said and predicted, but what outside private economists have said about the effect of the sequester on job creation and the shutdown on jobs and economic growth. are talking about trying to prove a negative or a counter factual. say, those economists, that absent those impants, the would be even better than it is. let me just be clear -- no one in this building or who works on these issues in the administration is satisfied even with the steady progress we have been making. and the positive news today. it is no where near enough for the president, as you heard him days ago. just a few
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working on this problem. like 7.3%yment just unimplement is far too high. and weed to keep doing can here ine washington to make sure that we are not inflicting any wounds on the economy, not setting it back, which is what happened shutdown, but investing in it and making the right about it so that we can build the foundation necessary for further economic growth, for sector jobvate creation. that is what the president is focused on. these numbers don't address what the president talked about the other day of a continuing concern to him and others around the country. the growing inequality and the diminishing ability for americans who are born in the lowest 20% to move up the
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economic ladder. that upward mobility has been something elemental to america's economic experience and americans identity that merits a great detail of attention and focus. >> in terms of long-term believe --you still >> this is a problem. estimatesthe c.b.o. $25 million as the cost for u.i. extension. be paid for or is the white house position it is an emergency issue? >> we have a plan put forward on this and the president made it clear the other day. congress has, in the past, i noted the seven percent unemployment rate. which atticked down from 7.3% but it isood news still far too high and still significantly higher than the
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unemployment rate which compelled president george w. bush to sign an extense of unemployment benefits when he was in office. on the long-term unemployed i news we havee today reenforces that we need to extend this problem and those unemployment insurance individualsthose because this is a persistent problem. as i noted when president bush extendingou unemployment insurance benefits the average person was i believe 17r weeks. now it is 36. what we saw today for that unemployed even though the overall number of unmany ployed americans fell in november, the number of long-term unemployed stayed pretty steady. that is more evidence that we address this problem and to tell be terrible more than a million families
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fewss the country just a days after christmas that they are out of benefits. that congress will, as it has in the past, address this challenge. >> again, i would just point you to the plan. a week away from the deadline for law makers to come to a deal. how close does the white house feel law makers are getting to is the white house insisting that part of that deal include something on extending u.i.? >> i will start with the second part first. said believesident congress should extend unemployment insurance. to dohicle that they used that is less important than the fact that they do it. i will not negotiate from the podium about how that gets done. and on the ongoing discussions and negotiations on the issue of
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a budget agreement, i would say that we hope and expect that they can reach one. i don't want to characterize the progress in any way except to say that any sense there is a return to an ability for each to come together and reach a compromise on budget matter welcome. that is certainly what we talked a lot about and talked about over the course of the year, a regular but i don't want to make any -- work that is being done or make any predictions about how successful they will be except to say that we obviously hope they will be. >> how is the white house involved in this, if at all? >> we are regularly involved in discussions with those on capitol hill who are engaged in process.
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but this is something as we talked about before that needs to be worked out by the relevant committees and relevant helps in those chambers who need to reach that we can move forward and avoid another government shutdown. address some of the self-inflicted wounds that have occurred over the past, indiscriminate across-the-board cut that's sequester imposed that both democrats and republicans have problem.a so we are engaged. information, we consult regularly with those working on this process. but this is something that achieve.needs to >> we are also about a week away from the anniversary of the shooting at newtown. i was wondering if the presidents going to be doing talk aboutxt week to that issue? >> that day for him and i think all of us will stick in our
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forever. in terms of what we will be doing around that anniversary, i don't have any information to provide today. it will certainly be a somber occasion. i want to do what i did the other day. years now because of my habit because maybe this is my better side that i start beenhere that i have getting to the right a little late here and i'm all about getting to the right. peter? >> okay. >> a couple things, to go through the busy work. can you tell us the last time the president had contact with nelson mandela? we know they spoke occasionally with letters and calls. when is the last time they communicated? or >> i think we are looking at this, i don't have a specific date. might have been 2010 or 2011 by phone. mandelahat nelson
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called the president when he won ie presidency in 2008 and know they spoke by phone on several occasions after that. will have to get and i'm sure we have the last occasion spoke.h they you probably also know that the and the obama's daughters traveled to south and met with nelson mandela. in 2011. that was on president's last conversation, we will have to you.hat information to >> any plans in the works to go to the south african embassy statueere there is a that honors nelson mandela and isn the condolence book that there? >> i don't have any scheduling updates involve the president of to i want to forewarn you because of the logistics that are still will not haven i a week ahead to give to you at the end of the preeing by we
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will get one to you when it is all prepared. i did myself drive by that yesterday and the number of people obviously had already gathered as well as the media and it is -- the statue just went up. great to have it here in washington. >> the government accountability institute, they announced between july of 2010 and november of this year, the public schedule was released showing that there were no one-on-one meetings with health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius. there were 277 other one-on-one meetings. with other members of his cabinet. it draws questions about the president's leadership skills as executive and i'm curious. >> peter, i you had called me beforehand. i'm in a very charitable mood too strongwon't go on this, but that report, not the report you cited but the published report that was
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writing by an advocate is based on a ridiculously false premise. those of you who remember abouts about records that indicated that hillary clinton met surprisingly infrequently with the president showed that with a little digging, cabinet secretaries don't normally get entered into the visitors logs because they come frequently. kathleen sebelius comes frequently and meets frequently with the president. i will refer you to the department for more information and more detail. but she is here a lot. she meets with the president with regularity. with the exception of public calendars, there are standing meetings for the secretary of defense, state, and the treasury
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this president has, but he meets with other secretaries in one on ones and small groups all the time. i would note that those calendars may never show a meeting i have with the president. i had two yesterday. that is how it works. >> a final question on nelson mandela. what people will be thinking about, when we consider the life of nelson mandela and the challenges that exist in our own country, what lessons can washington learn? i know you had conversations in the white house and what you think the message we can learn is. >> i think the president put it very well yesterday in the remarks he made when he was in south africa earlier this year about the remarkable example that nelson mandela set when he was released from prison and
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made clear that he would embrace those who jailed him, and he would seek those to help build a south africa that judged every person by his or her character and not by his or her skin color. i think that spirit of reconciliation that the president said yesterday is one that should imbue the work that all of us do here. at a professional level and as the president said, on a personal level. i cite the president here because he said it best. >> the question on nelson mandela, it struck me that the president talked about this great impact that he had on his
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life but only met with him one time face-to-face. i'm just curious, for people wondering if you could provide more details about nelson mandela's influence on the president and if he had a chance to talk about this. they only met one time. >> i think nelson mandela had a profound impact on millions of people around the world, beginning with the citizens of south africa. millions of people who never met him. the president, as a senator, had the good fortune to meet him, that i don't think that is why he had an influence on barack obama. that influence extends, as he said yesterday, well back in time. those of us in college in the
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80s remember the debates and protests happening on college campuses over divestment in south africa because of apartheid. that is probably what the president was referencing in his own experience. it was a profoundly important issue, internationally. the amazing transformation that happened from there to his release, and not much time later to his election as president, it was part of an era of historic change around the world that i think will be remembered as such for a long time. the president has spoken a lot about this, not just last night, so i will point you to what he said in the past.
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it is a remarkable thing. in broadcast and in print, you guys have been doing a terrific job of celebrating his life and noting how unique he is. there is no debate around the world about the fundamental goodness of this man. it wasn't always that way but it is today. getting really close to roberto was talking about dates but december 23 when sign up forto insurance, that coverage starting on the first of the year. when a 1 which is a date lot of people are going to be the systemis actually working the way it should be working. all about these up?s that are coming >> we are extremely focused on it, especially the teams and the
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tech teams. as i noted earlier, we met the goal that we set in november. we are still engaged in a lot of work and we have a lot of work to do to make sure that we continue to address whatever problems remain with the website so it is functioning as effectively as it can for the millions of americans who want to use it and that we are doing we of the other things that talked about to improve this period of implementation and that includes what c.m.s. is doing to reach out to has chosen a plan to make sure that they are communicating with their issuer if know that they need to, they enrolled for insurance to kick in on january 1, that they need to meet whatever premium deadline is set by the issuer. that everyone who
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enrolled in fact and addressing the challenges that we are particularly -- that were particularly keen in the beginning of this process on the back end. the 34 forms. process is still going on and we are obviously encouraged by the progress that has been made but there is -- continues to be a lot of work to do. work is not about somebody i spoke to today, a reporter that was sort of, you asking about corners being turned and things and what that the president. what it is what it meaps for the getle that are trying to insurance and it is remashable. >> do you feel like you are corner?a >> i feel like we are making progress. i think we are making progress. yet.e not there and we are not going to suggest there yet. because this is about making sure the millions of americans that have persistently showed
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that they want what the exchanges offer are rewarded allows experience that them to shop and select the coverage that they think suits lives best. and their pocketbooks best. the work we are undertaking. and that is what the press is and everyone else. last one, jim. >> the president was asked by about choosing between the vice president and former secretary of state hillary clinton, is the president going to stay out of it? is he just going to stay to the shines here. is 2013. what i can say is that -- i know, i couldn't either when i reporter. but the -- the fact of the matter is the president -- i'm echoing the president here, he is enormously grateful for the service of hillary clinton as his exceptional secretary of
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state. in the first term and is ever the extraordinary service that joe biden provides that we havedent seen just this week on his very important foreign trip. that, you know, the president feels lucky to have had hillary clinton on his team and have joe biden on his team and that is what he is focused on. will do a little up and backion john and then i will get you next. voice of america. >> it was a very heartfelt statement about nelson mandela. she also had this address of human rights the other day. how closely did she consult with the president? >> i know he was aware of it but i don't know how much they talked about it. i know that she felt strongly about the speech and i encourage everyone here who has not seen
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it to read it. as you expect, because she is the national security advisor of the president, they spend a lot of time together. so i'm sure they discussed it. that she aspect of said as we test the potential for diplomatic resolution on the issue, another key test is whether we begin to see progress in human rights. will that be a separate track completely as the human rights issues are raised at all? or will it be raised over the nowmonth period between and -- >> i think we raised the issue of human rights with regards to iran and other countries where we have profound issues with their track record on human rights. we will always and consistently do that. what the ambassador was referencing is that the progress
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we have seen out of tehran in terms of their willingness to proceed with negotiations and engage with the b5 plus one is important. it is all based on actions as far as we are concerned. it is important that compliance is upheld and it will be true all the way through to the completion of a comprehensive agreement. if that is achieved, it will be a good thing for the world. and we think for iran. but there are obviously other issues. the people of iran very much demonstrated in the election and since that they want improved relations with the the isolation their pursuit of a nuclear weapons
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program has brought on to them been unwelcome. but there is more to it than that. so i think that is what she was talking about. john? >> on the meeting with nelson mandela, did you ever talk to him about it? have you heard him reflect on that meeting? >> i have. >> is there anything -- let him discuss it. i think if you -- i can't remember if you were with us but a the occasions that mandela about nelson when she were in south africa, i think it reflects his feelings about the example nelson mandela set and how remarkable his life is and how unique he was. i would just point to what the president said because it is a pretty long public record of comments about it. a follow-up on the question of
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meetings. hhs.eferred us to will h.h.s. be able to tell us how many times tampa bay. know.on't >> they tend to refer is back to here. >> i think on this case they will have information for you. the point i'm trying to make here is as i was making to a earlier is that there outbviously a lot of folks there who have been rightly of healthcare get dov and in general opponents of whole effortd the have made arguments and that's fine. this one is just based on bad information. that is the only point i was making. >> i just wanted to make sure we information.orrect >> i don't have all of the figures in front of me. if you think about the cabinet and the importance of in this presidency in particular healthcare matters and reform, it is safe to say that kathleen sebelius has
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more frequente visitors to and attendance of with the president. i don't have the figures, but if you -- there is the sects of defense, state and treasury as homelandepartment of security to be sure and they all have spent a significant amount of time with the president and met with him on the issues that they oversee. of the preeminence of healthcare and healthcare administration first term and second it is safe to say that secretary sebelius spent a lot of time here. >> can you jut explain. you mentioned that on the schedule you know we see that the standing meetings with the state, of defense, treasury, and the other meetings schedule. up on how do you determine what you decide you are going to publicly are notnd what you going to? >> i think we endeavor to put as advance andnow in
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as much as we can on the public schedule that we release the day before. we talk often about meetings that have happened that either are thrown on at the last minute. that, i was ind to see the president a couple of times yesterday, they are not that i knew i was going to be seeing him on the day before. athink it is just -- it is lot -- probably kind of like your lives, even though he is andident it is pretty fluid maybe not like your lives but -- >> ours is a little different. obviously there are some meetings that he has that and we don't put them on the public schedule for a variety of reasons. especially those numbers that peter was citing, a lot are based on the standing weekly the vicelike president's standing weekly lunch that are imprinted on numbers show up. >> major? >> i know the details are still
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coming together but is it anticipated has the president been invited to deliver remarks eulogo for nelson mandela? don't have any details on that question or the other logistics around the visit the president and first lady will be -- >> by that he might not give remarks? >> i'm not trying to imply anything on this. honestly. obviousthis is for reasons still being worked on. will getmise you we that information to you. i know for a lot of you in your organizations when it comes to coverage the sooner the better in terms of information and we as soon as we can. >> okay. in the new >> in "the new republic" this morning, it said the error rate for 834 processing is down to 10%, i wonder if you can tell me if that is a verifiable or verifiable internal statistics
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that you are wanting to talk about, and if that is the beginning of a greater, at least larger data set on this 834 question that we can expect -- >> that would be coming from cms, and they are working on this issue. all i can say, what i know with confidence, and i try to deliver this information from here, only that information i know with confidence and that i have checked out myself, we are confident that the error rate which is a complicated thing, but that the overall number of errors and problems with the back end of the system and the a 34 forms has been decreasing significantly since the october 1 launch date. significantly, over the course of november, as i mentioned earlier this week among one of the major fixes that went in over the weekend prior to the change of the calendar to
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december was one that addressed some of these back end issues. the only thing from that report that i can confirm is that we do know that it is better now than it was. we know there are issues we need to work on, which is why cms has stood up a regular meeting of experts with issuers to address these specific problems on the back end, because it is very important that we make sure that every 834 is accurate, past and present, and we will do that. >> i want to follow-up on a question from yesterday. you mentioned the vice president's trip to asia. in his words and secretary hagel's words, that the united states rejected it, there's nothing you can do about it but it may be accommodating itself to its reality. is that a fair characterization? >> i try to be as clear as i could and i would put you to the vice president's remarks today, about this matter.
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we, the united states, do not recognize and do not accept the newly announced east china sea air defense identification zone. and it will not change, will not change how the united states conducts military operations in the region. it does not have any tactical effect on u.s. government operations. we have been very clear about our view on this and have been clear not just in our public pronouncements, but in the, as the vice president said, in his meetings with chinese leaders. it may be accommodating itself to its reality.
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>> the broader point we are trying to make to the chinese is that this is not how major powers connect themselves -- conduct themselves. >> picking up on that, it sounds as if the u.s. posture is to say, don't do anything like this again. it will create confusion, misunderstanding, and it will lead to confusion. >> i am not sure where seeing that. china made the pronouncement. it is for china not to implement it. we don't recognize it. we don't accept it. the fact of the matter is that we have been very clear about our view of it and how we will react to it, and our broader concern about the tension in the region, and how these types of provocative actions can lead to missed regulation and to further tension in the region, which is
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not in the interest of any of the nations involved. >> you said yesterday, and again today, that in order to make sure the people who have signed up get there started january 1, the administration is endeavoring to contact these people. would men suggest that you have enrollment figures? if you are contacting people, you must know the enrollment. so what are the enrollment figures? >> my understanding is that those numbers are being verified, scrubbed, and checked. there is a lot to come in from states. they will provide those figures in the middle of the month, which i think is next week,
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consistent with the need to make sure that those numbers are tight. obviously, we know october. they can see who has pressed some buttons and reach out to them. maybe they find out this is part of the process. you find out that there was an error or some duplication. we are going to be very consistent to make sure they are as accurate as possible. never acquire some time, especially in a circumstance like this, where you have been administering in a number of states. then you have states running their own marketplaces. that is all being kept in mind, and we will get it to you when it is ready. the broader thing that we've been talking about -- i mean, i
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have not disputed or confirmed any numbers out there. we are waiting for hard, verify data. i think that the reports that we have seen reflect what we have. that is based on the early information that we have. the system is working much more effectively. many more people have been successful at in rolling and getting from beginning to end of the process. the number of problems with the site has been reduced significantly. that includes the front end and the back end. but we still have some things to work on. >> we all more details today that he says suggest that the small business exchange would not be ready by october 1. he was indicating there may be
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problems with it. you said we're going to have to delay that small business exchange. >> i am confident that there are pieces of information that come out the partially reflect what is happening at cms. i don't have any specific information on this. anything that reinforces the fact that the site had problems in october is probably something we will agree with. >> the president was asked about holding the cabinet secretary and the cabinet accountable. and he was asked if it was a reflection of his personal management style. he said the big government agencies need to be fixed. >> he was talking about i.t. issues. >> he said that these agencies are not designed properly. is he passing the buck? >> no. no. no. there are people think -- are you asking me -- i have no personnel announcements to make.
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>> well -- >> here's what i can sell you. the president believes very strongly that we need to be functioning effectively at all levels for the taxpayers. we've afford forward the significant streamlining of some of our government agencies in a sensible proposal that he hopes congress will act on. it has agencies not related to the affordable care act imitation, but i think the broader view that it reflects is that the president thinks that we should bring up-to-date to date the functionality of all of
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our activities here. we should make it better, faster, more efficient, and more responsive to the consumer. in this case, the consumer is the taxpayer. the president went to you summit. harvard university put out a poll about young people being disillusioned with the health care law. my question is that, is he concerned about engaging the students? i know he has done it before. how concerned it is -- is this white house that the people who supported him, especially the young people, are abandoning him on health care? >> the questions regarding enrollment and implementation of obamacare has to do with a long- standing observation and a plan around it that we need young people to enroll. that is true regardless of
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polling data on the affordable care act. it was always going to be true. it was always going to be important. it was always the case, as i think we have discussed here in this room. younger people are more likely to wait to later stages of the enrollment process to enroll. this is part of a broader effort that we will be undertaking to make sure that americans around the country understand the advantages of having insurance and the need to have it and all of the options available to them. i will leave it to folks on the political side who have looked at that. we are in pretty stark disagreement with some of the polls, particularly on youth and the afford will care act. there are good polls and apples. -- and bad polls. >> is there a fear of debate?
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>> basically, the percentage of americans who want to repeal the affordable care act has not changed at all. i think that speaks to the kind of entrenched political nature of this debate over the past several weeks. it is always been in our view the case that we have to set aside those issues, those political issues, and focus on the advantages of the law. we've been talking about that. i talked about the improvements in health care costs, the
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reduction in the growth health care cost that we've seen since the pass of the affordable care act. that is a macro-deliverable. it assures that no one can be denied because of pre-existing conditions. young people cannot be denied because of resisting conditions. we are focusing on the benefits. we know from similar data that breaks down what people say they like and want in health care reform that this is broadly supported. we have seen because of the remarkable resilience and grit of the american people, even when they're trying to get insurance, that even when we, because of the troubles that we have caused with the site that it was incumbent upon us to fix that they are still demonstrating in
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high-volume that they believe this is something that they need and want. they want to know more about it. that is why we are focused on delivering these benefits to them. we will see down the road how people appreciate what this provides. right now we will be focusing on the dow jones. >> the president said he wants to expand unemployment insurance. do you have any idea how you would pay for that? >> this is something that we are not new to the game on. i don't have the details on it. i know that we are looking to congress to do it has in the past, which is sit down and figure out a way to get this done because of the need -- the comparative of not depriving, or
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withholding benefits, from one million families before christmas because of the economic impact that these benefits would provide. i can take the question and provide you to jason and others who have more detail on it. >> 2 questions. you said the job creation started around -- are you suggesting a correlation there? >> there is an argument out there. i am in a charitable mood today, so i'm not going to spend a lot of time in this. there is an argument out there that the aca is a job killer. the data would suggest otherwise.
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i am not saying creating these jobs, but there's been an argument that the aca is going to drive people into unemployment. it is one thing to make an argument, but you have to back it up with data. the data suggest that is not true. the trend is very positive when it comes to increasing full-time employment versus part-time employment. the percentage of people going into full-time jobs rather than part-time jobs is actually better. i am not saying it is because of the affordable care act. i am saying that the argument that the affordable care act is causing these problems doesn't hold up when you look at the data. >> in september when you face to
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the continuing resolution question, the white house said that these negotiations, if they felt, we won't advocate a shutdown. if that the position going forward? >> we believe that it is a good time not to predict failure. we think that congress ought to do what it has been doing, which is working collaboratively to reach a compromise and a budget arrangement. we certainly oppose a shutdown. i am uncertain that our view of what happened in september and october has not changed and will always apply, which is that the harm done by shutdown is completely unnecessary. and it was a decision made for expressly political reasons back in september and october that turned out to be very bad for the economy. >> with the job numbers that are out today, the president said in
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a speech that we are not seeing new policy initiatives being pushed out. are you comfortable with unemployment as it has been? is he planning on whittling it down at a greater pace? what is he doing to publish that? >> i will point to what the president said the other day. we need to invest in our infrastructure. republicans and democrats need to do that together. we need to get that done. we need to do that and also lower our corporate tax rate and eliminate loopholes in a way that would be a better bargain for jobs in this country. we need to invest in universal pre-cash. we need to do the things that the president has put forward to attract jobs from overseas and to bring home jobs from american
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companies that are located overseas, bring them home to build on those trends. we need to continue to build on the positive trends that we have seen in the manufacturing sector and are of this country, represented by the automobile companies but also by a host of other development in manufacturing. the president is not the least bit satisfied or complacent with where we are. he believes we ought to have a spirited conversation about what are we going to do. what are we going to do to reduce inequality? what are we going to do to reduce -- increase jobs overall,
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particularly those that provide middle-class security across the country? he said in that speech that he believes that we can get some of this done with congress. where congress refuses to move, he will take action that he can on his own. this is his fundamental preoccupation. >> is there a future date to roll out a specific legislative package? >> i promise not to bore you with the numerous legislative proposals that are are ready up there, reflected in this budget and otherwise, it would create the foundation for further jobs growth in the future. he noted that in his speech, that he is a number of proposals that he will focus on. i was noting that in the past a number of them enjoyed bipartisan support. and we hope there will not future. he calls on everyone in the
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congress and from both parties to vote for it ideas. if they disagree with the president's approach to narrowing the gap to increasing upward mobility, he is all years. he looks for to have in a conversation. >> has the president ever given any new consideration to -- >> you this kind of look like, do you know that? >> really? has the president given any new consideration to raise the minimum wage on contractors? >> we strongly ashe and i neglected to mention this, and this gives me the opportunity -- we strongly -- and i neglected to mention this, and this gives me the opportunity.
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the president knows that the counterarguments, upon scrutiny, don't hold up. we ought to do this as soon as possible. he he thinks that there is an opportunity, and given the interest that has been expressed to get this done, and to do it. and to demonstrate to the american people that we in washington and take action. remember, the informal care act does not have an adverse effect on businesses, so we are to do it. >> congress says he should lead by example, doing something he can do on his own, and not waiting on congress. >> the president is always looking for ways to move the ball forward where congress won't work with them do that. he believes this is an
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opportunity for congress to work with him in concert toward a goal that will help millions of americans and the economy. i am not going to speculate about hypotheticals. >> just to follow-up on something else the president said on a tv talk show yesterday >> sound like a new thing. >> i watch it. i couldn't figure out what was. he said he was going to be imposing some self-restraint on the nsa. what does that process and tell entail? >> the president is continuing to review ideas. i think it is important that you noted an important point yesterday. he made important point yesterday that i know he believes deeply. the work done by the nsa, and others in our intelligence agencies, is vital to keeping america and americans safe, as was keeping our ally safe. we cannot lose sight of that. the president said in his comment yesterday, things that reflected and echoed what he said in the past about things
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that he can do and reforms that we can make a better wise without forgetting that the fundamental mission that is undertaken by our intelligence community is designed to make americans and america safer. >> we understand that he is getting a report yesterday -- next week about the nsa -- >> i don't have any scheduling announcements today. >> the president said he wanted to see immigration reform, health care reform, and a budget. is there a timetable on those? is there a way to get those or is this an ongoing process? >> we talked about the button aggressions that are underway. when it comes to the effort to pass conference of immigration reform, the president believes the congress can act and should act as soon as possible.
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they can act right away, thousand could, when it comes to these issues. they are not gone yet. they ought to do something >> we talked about the button aggressions that are underway. when it comes to the effort to pass conference of immigration reform, the president believes the congress can act and should act as soon as possible. they can act right away, thousand could, when it comes to these issues. they are not gone yet. they ought to do something between now and their departure
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that could signal to the american people, in the case of the farm bill, that we have all of the necessary elements of that important legislation taken up -- taking care of on behalf of americans who depend on food and efficient assistance. and when it comes to conference of immigration reform, as i've said in the past, and conservatives have said in the past, there are many things that conservatives could make a strong case for, including strong economic growth, including bringing people out of the shadows and making sure that they get to the back of the line in the process to become citizens.
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making sure they're paying all their taxes, and holding businesses accountable, so that everyone is paying by the same rules -- playing by the same rules. the high-tech industries, in particular, and can take advantage of the talent that we see in american universities, with foreign students who want to stay here and work for startups. there is a lot to like encumbrance of immigration reform. lots of republicans and conservatives could like it. a lot of conservatives supported. what's not to -- lose sight of that. it has support from across the political spectrum, law- enforcement, evangelicals, is this, labor -- business, labor.
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it has support from lawmakers, and a former president, and governors. there is a real opportunity here forgetting something significant done for our economy and our future that could be heralded as a bipartisan success story. >> when the president volunteered the phrase yesterday that he will recommend self- restraint, does that mean that he believes the nsa's overall surveillance program is important enough that he doesn't believe in needs to be reined in >> is this a dissection of different verbs? i think what he said was pretty clear. he is taking steps, as he is that in the past, to make sure that we are doing everything we did to do, and collecting all
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the information we need to collect, the guys we should collect this information. we can and should do it within the confines of law. but we are not doing it just because we can. that is the umbrella under which these reviews have been taking place and how he is evaluating the options available to him when it comes to the changes that are going to be made. thank you. have a great weekend. we will get you the week ahead as soon as we can. we will get you more information on next week as soon as we can. take care. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] looking ahead to sunday, our guest on "newsmakers" representative adam smith, the top democrat on the armed services committee looking at the status of the defense
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authorization bill currently being worked on in congress. 10:00s every sunday at a.m. and 6:00 p.m. yesterday on c-span. -- eastern on c-span. >> things escalate so quickly. lovingent that seems so can just turned, flipped, and be so out of control. what's the deal? i just want to take this to sell. i need some money. on top of all of the other andsures they have no money and went out with a shotgun really tried to jam it out her. book andribe in the this is based on after she
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wanted to. >> they return home is only half the story. following the men of the u.s. second battalion 16th infantry anday night at 8:00 on "q and ." >> former republican presidential candidate jon evenman and as and by -- with members from both parties to solve problems. this is in the national council of state legislatures fall for them. >> good afternoon. im senator richard devlin and
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serve as vice chair of the committee. as all of you know far too well, republicans and democrats on capitol hill have been unable to find common ground on a number of issues. just to name a few, fiscal year , andbudget, the farm bill immigration reform. reaching across the aisle has become more and more difficult and principled compromise seems like a mountain too tall to climb. this morning, i have the honor of introducing two national leaders who can hopefully help shed some light on how our colleagues in washington, d.c., might be able to come together to find solutions to our nation's critical problems. let me begin with governor .untsman
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he began as a staff assistant to ronald reagan. he has served four u.s. presidents in critical roles including u.s. ambassador to singapore, u.s. trade ambassador and most recently u.s. ambassador to china. as the governor of utah, he brought about strong economic reform, tripled the state rainy day fund and helped bring unemployment rates to historic close. his tenure, utah was named the best managed state in america and the best state in which to do business. he also serves as cochair of no labels. it is a group working to develop concrete policy solutions that could attract wide support in the congress and begin rebuilding the american peoples's trust in their federal
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government. also with us today, senator evan a former two term governor who also served as the secretary of state of indiana in served in 1999 to senate run 2011. as governor of indiana emma he enacted welfare reform, cut taxes, and brought about fiscal discipline to the budget. in the u.s. senate, he was a leading voice advocating for fiscal restraint on government spending. worked in a bipartisan manner, something missing right now, to seek consensus on several key issues including financial services reform and health care. session will begin with remarks from governor yh to be and senator ba followed with what i'm sure will be a great conversation facilitated by senator kirk
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bramble from utah, senator pro tem. we go to those comments, we would like to share some opening remarks with you from u.s. senator joe manchin of west virginia who cochairs no labels with the governor huntsman. >> hello. it's a pleasure to send my greetings to all of you attending national conference of state legislatures 2013 fall for them. i regret i cannot join you in person today but i send you my best wishes for an enjoyable and productive meeting. the strength rests in your efforts and the commitment to serving democrats, republicans, and independents. it's a breath of fresh air that you recognize that we need to work together to put the american of people and common sense solutions ahead of
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politics. as a former governor and state legislator of the great state of virginia, i was shocked to arrive in the senate only to realize there was guilt by association in washington but also guilt a conversation. as a democrat, i was frowned upon for even talking to colleagues with an r ahead of their name. that's why from the earliest days in congress, i became a member of the no labels which is truly one of the only organizations in washington where members of congress can have an open and honest conversation about how we can solve the many challenges our great nation faces today. west virginiians and the american people deserve a government that works for them. they expect us to work together and move this country forward. they don't want democrat or republican solutions, they want american solutions. we should be thinking about the next generation and how we can help our children and our
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children's children succeed in an america that is stronger than ever. we should be working together on the ways we can make america an even better country. as you gather here today, i thank you for coming together with an agenda that centers around bipartisanship. i would like to thank your president, senator bruce starr, all of our west virginia leaders who made the trip to attend this conference. and my dear friends, john huntsman and evan bayh, truly leaders in bipartisanship with a focus of moving this great country forward. please enjoy this meeting and congratulations on the hard work you do every day. thank you and god bless you. [applause] >> governor -- governor huntsman, senator bayh and senator bramble. >> thank you very much. it's a -- it's a great honor and privilege to be with all of you here. i'm particularly honored to be with senator bramble who i had the great privilege of working
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with as governor of the state of utah. and i found early in my term that if you could somehow channel curt's intelligence and energy in a productive direction, there wasn't anything you couldn't get done. you could say we got a whole lot done. and to be with evan bayh, somebody who i've admired enormously over the years and i often said he probably thinks this is in jest, one of the reasons i got involved in public service was because of the model of pure public service that he provided while he was a very young governor of the state of indiana. well, listen, i'm going to take a moment to give you a couple of reflections on no labels and why i'm involved.
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and it was great to hear from joe manchen. joe and i were elected governors together, he a democrat, i, a republican. we used to call each other and share ideas on tax reform, on education reform. on getting things done. we love the environment on you can actually achieve results. it was remarkable. joe then went on to the senate and became terribly frustrated with the culture that existed on capitol hill, something that evan knows a lot about. i went on to china to become our senior diplomat running the embassy there. and we kind of regrouped a little bit later when joe and nancy jacobson, who was the power behind no labels initially came and said would you like to become part of the no labels
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movement. what on earth is no labels? is it a third party effort to kind of ship wreck the republicans and the democrats. is it a bunch of mushy moderates to get together to take over the world? none of the above. come to find that it is a group that respects the fact that we have a two-party system. they are endeavoring to change the center of gravity away from acrimony from the problem solving. it's a lofty objective, can it be done? for those of you who have been around politics for a while, many of you have, of course you can change the operating culture of politics. that in a nutshell is what no labels is endeavoring to do. our goal is to change the operating environment of politics here in washington and certainly among the state capitols because we know many of you have some of the same problems of grid lock. critical for this country. absolutely. so why is it that i'm involved beyond thinking that's a pretty
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good objective, and doable, i might add. and second, i would also lived abroad four times. i lived in those countries that would be considered our -- our greatest competition in the 21st century. i lived in taiwan, i lived in singapore, i live in china. my kids have gone to their schools. i used to serve on the economic development board of singapore, perhaps the most competitive nation in the world today. i've seen what they're doing to prepare for the 21st century. and i say we sit here in the greatest nation on earth. we have all of the assets in our disposal. we have so many things going for uh us. for the dysfunction of politics, with ear ready to grow, we're ready to get on in the next
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chapter in this country. but for whatever reason, politics is holding us back. our inability to problem solve, our inability to plan solutions and get the work of the american people done. i don't care if you're a republican or democrat, there are some issue that are so transcendent and important to the people of this nation, we have to identify what they are and get on with it. it isn't about ideology. everyone in this room shares a different approach to the issues. we all have our own ideology. it's about extreme partisanship which is made for problem solving to be practically impossible for this country today. so we're setting out on a fairly ambitious and bold agenda to try to change that operating culture. one, we have to prove the concept which when he ear doing by the group of problem solvers that we put together on capitol hill. you can imagine, you know, we started beginning of the year with nobody as part of the problem solvers's caucus on capitol hill. now we have 90. some from the senate, sfrom that. that have ear meeting every week. and they're putting forward some
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sifrping pieces of legislation to prove the point that the republicans and democrats can build for us and get some work done. you can imagine what they're going to be able to do by this time next year. that's step number one. step number two i think there's great relevance for state and local leaders as well, in terms of shifting the overall focus to problem solving. third, i suspect over a short period of time a large grassroots network of people who are looking for problem solvers in their elected officials, probably a million people in every congressional district in this country is what we want to have in the next several months. i think we're a good part of the way there. so if you think of no labels, i want you to think of problem solving. i want you to think of a group that's also proving the concept. it isn't just catchy phrases and nice sound bites, but we're moving the needle and we're just
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getting it going. the elections ahead will have to be about problem solving. it will be about getting taxes right, debt right, education right, getting the foundational building blocks of this nation in a place where we can actually get our house in order. that's what it so desperately needed right now. so we're delighted to be here. we thank you for listening here. and, curt, thank you for what you're doing to chair this segment. >> thank you, governor. senator bayh. >> thank you, senator bramble. i would like to thank our introduction for the eulogy he provided governor huntsman and myself. not often am i introduced just the way i wrote it. i'm grateful for all of the things he was kind enough to repeat. a pleasure to be with my friend and colleague, governor huntsman. i admire john huntsman. a mutual admiration thing going here.
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successful governor. could have done any number of things with his life, coming from the family that he came from. he decided to devote himself to public service. and in particular, it's sometimes hard to answer the call when the other political party reaches out. there's a price to be paid to your own group. when the current president is served as ambassador to our country, the most important bilateral relationship we have in the world today, john huntsman didn't make a political calculation of some kind, he said i'll serve my country and figure out the politics later on. i'm proud to be with you and particularly work with john and no labels to try and solve what may be the biggest challenge that we face. people sometimes say what are we going to do about the budget? what are we going to do about health care, education, all of the other things? my response is we're not going to get to any of that until we can first deal with the political dysfunction. so that's what we're attempting to do.
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it may seem like a little bit like a fish pushing a bolder up the hill. but we've got to try. is this mic okay? it's usually the mics that you don't see that get you in trouble in washington. [ applause ] >> so to our friends at the nsa, we say hello, we think you're doing a great job. in any event, the senators are famous for speaking at great lengths. i won't do that to you today. but let me just say that i have a great deal of admiration for state legislators. i developed that in my own right when i became governor. is senator long still here? senator -- i see pat. pat, raise your hand. senator miller and senator wong was here. i guess he had to step out. but in any event, i was elected governor at the ripe old age of 32. my birthday was in september i matured. i took office when i was 33.
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i did not serve in the state legislature. i had served as secretary of state. i'd been involved politically. but i had a chance to get to know the members of the senate and the house the way i would like to and i did over the next eight years. and i realized pretty quickly, john, probably the same way in utah, we have a saying in indiana that governor proposes, state legislature, disposes. so i realized we needed to try to find common ground. and i had to challenge right away in my eight years, my last two years, the republican party had a majority in the house, the republican party had a majority all eight years of the state senate. the last two years, the republicans had a majority. the middle four years, the democratic party had a majority. my first two years, and here's why i mentioned this as pat would recall, our state house of representatives was split 50-50. well, there's no constitutional mechanism for breaking the tie. and i was then sitting secretary of state, i hasn't resigned to
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become governor yet. the secretary of state, one of the responsibilities is to preside over the organization of the house until they elect the speaker. which they were incapable of doing. and and so this went on and on. one point, the gentleman, we don't know who he was. an individual came to see me. he said, governor, i want you to know this, i want you to gavel me in as speaker. i said, okay. i said, well, i don't think so. i knew that would forever poison my relationship with the republicans in the state legislature. so long story short, the reason i tell the tale is that the end, the compromise was reached. and we had two speakers. they alternated days. we called them stereospeakers. and the committee had two chairman. they alternated days.
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well, in the beginning of this thing, everybody thought it was going to be disaster. how is this going to work? nothing is getting done. constant fighting and acrimony and so forth. today if you visit the house of representatives' chamber, there's a plaque on the wall commemorating the historic -- the word it uses -- the historic evenly divided session of the state general assembly. because neither side was able to impose its will, it dawned on them both that they had to pour some kind of consensus if anything was going to get done. eventually, that's what ended up happening. and we need more of that in washington dc today. final thing i would say. by the way, one other thing -- john, you'll appreciate this. one other thing if you see in the indiana house, you see the speaker there and they had every picture of every legislative team. so respect for state legislators runs in the family. my father had the privilege of being elected speaker of our house at the ripe old age of 30. the reason for that is in 1956
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in the eisenhower landslide, the house in indiana was like 75 republicans and 25 democrats, nobody cared to be minority leader. it didn't matter. he said i'll do it. he was elected minority leader for a variety of reasons. two years later, the young man was elected speaker of the house of representatives. the reason i tell that tale, a sa picture from that year, pat will know what i'm talking about. they're sitting through in their blue shirts. my dad was a farmer. i was born in the farm. he has on the black wing tipped shoes, white sox. take the boy off of the farm, can't take the farm out of the boy. in any event, i think -- and i'm going to conclude by saying this, what this town needs this, is what no labels is working to promote. if you're interested, i think next june, next year we'll have a gathering of state legislators, both parties, house and senate, to try to build on the progress we've made here in washington.
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try to find a way to work together. we're not going to agree on everything. there are differences of opinion. we can't afford to do nothing in the face of a rapidly changing world as our problems continue to compound. so the two things i end up by saying, i'm reminded of something the civil rights leader when he said we may have arrived on these shores in different ships, but we're all in the same boat now. what's going on in this town is that too often, the two political parties, you think they're from different countries. they view the other side as the enemy, not the fell blow citizens with whom they occasionally disagree. but in the long run, they have the sate fate, interests in common. we have to reconcile our differences, not accentuate them.
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but we forget we come from a common country and common heritage and for sure a common destiny. final thing i say, this is something that no labels is working to overcome. in this city today, what all of you have to do every section is forge principle compromise, the word compromise, back in the dale, my father's time, that was an act of statesmanship. today it's a act of betrayal. if you don't work with your party 100% of the time, you're ostracized, there's something wrong with you. you can see this on cable tv and a variety of other things. i'll finish by recounting words that lyndon johnson, a master legislator, said once. he grew up poor in the hill country in texas. and his family couldn't always
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take for granted that they were going to have enough to keep the roof over their head or keep food on the table. so this is the thought i'll leave you with. jobson once said any man not willing to compromise, well, that man never went to bed hungry. he said, you know, he said any man who is not willing to settle for half a loaf, well, that man never went to bed hungry. i'm pleased to be with you here. and senator, i'll turn it over to you. >> to all of you, if you have a question, stand up -- i don't know where the mics are. we have the mics. so let's begin. if you have a question, stand up, we'll go to you. no, ma'am elected officials might feel giving up their labels might help respond to the party identity. how do you feel about that criticism. >> curt, i've been waiting a long time to have you call me distinguished. have someone catch that on tape.
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>> the enemies are distinguished. [laughter] >> listen, governor huntsman, during his tenure, we had a challenge with transportation and with his leadership, the largest construction project in the state's history was agreed upon and moved forward on. and it was republicans, democrats, there had to be additional revenue, revenue enhancements. they were not a tax increase, it was a fee increase. but we've been in the trenches together. it's a privilege to be up here >> we did oh can in immigration and tax reform too. >> i would have to say that the marketplace politically inevitably has to go toward problem solving. and no labels is going to do everything it can to create that culture of problem solving.
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no one else was doing it. folks look at no labels, they have to read a little bit of the background and see what we stand for, in a real sense, all of you have an opportunity to be part history. we're just getting going. there's nothing like this no labels movement. something has to change the operating environment politically in this country, period. and i -- i think that now that we have blown up the system, we have a pretty good job sending people back here to blow up the system. i suspect that most americans are saying now we have to put it back together again. we just have to get the basics done. you got to have immigration reform. you have to have a competitive tax code. you have to do something about debt and education. this is all about problem solving. so no labels being at the sweet spot of where i think where the american people are and where
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they will be in the next couple of election cycles will therefore be in a place where most elected officials are going to want to be, not because it's the right thing politically, but because it's the right thing for this country. >> thank you. >> senator, you served in the senate for over a decade. how did things change when you were serving and how useful would a group like no labels have been early in the career or if they changed towards the end of the career in the senate? >> that's a good question. the senate has changed dramatically? the last 13 or 14 years. it's changed. it's just a completely different universe since my father's time. i'll tell you a story. it was 1968, my father was running for the first re- election. democrat in indiana. the republican leader at that time was illinois, came up to my father on the senate and said, look, i know you're running for re-election.
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i hope you'll tell me what i can do to help. that would never happen today. but back then, that generation, they've been through the great depression. and many of them had served in the military in the second world war, you know you're in a fox hole, you don't care so much for the person next to you, the republican or democrat, you know, watch your back. then the struggle with global communism followed that. so people of that generation knew there was greater challenge to the welfare of the country than members of the political party or someone who had a ideological thing. it's changed -- it's -- it's the different places since my time. there used to be things -- the leaders of the two caucuses used to not campaign against each other, raised money against each other. that's common place. you can imagine how you feel when you find the person that's supposed to be working with us out to do you in. and they're just did the personal connections. a group like real labels could play a real role.
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this might come as a surprise. the united states senate, every tuesday, every tuesday there's a caucus lunch. republicans caucus in one room and have lunch. democrats caucus in another room and have lunch. every thursday, the policy committee ohsf the two caucuses meet. same thing, democrats there, republicans there. never, not once, literally not once, the republicans and democrats meet together to discuss substantive issues. doesn't happen. it's that way on purpose. because the leaders of the two conferences think if there's supposed to be this dialogue going, they'll lose control. and they can't direct the course of legislation the way they would like. so with no labels in play is to provide that neutral meeting ground. where john is saying, you don't have to stop being a republican or a democrat, but you have to start being americans. we don't have to agree on everything.
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but it doesn't mean we can't agree on something, which is where the system is right now. and so it kind of -- those muscles are working together and have atrophied. and the rule no labels have played is as i said provide that forum where people can start talking to one another and i think you can be surprised if you can make that happen. there's more that we have in common than we do that divides us, the process right now is accentuating divisions and that's why no labels is working to overcome that. >> thank you. governor huntsman, on that same note, if congressional leaders, if their agenda is to foster the polarization, would they be threatened by no labels? and how does the organization get past that status quo? >> i think you're right, curt. they will be threatened to some extent by no labels. but guess what? that threat will transform into a desire to work collaborateively once you reach critical mass, which is exactly what we're doing on capitol hill. we have 10, 20, 30 members of the problem solver's caucus in a few short months.
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no one was paying attention. they were writing paperings, should we take the effort seriously, what is it about? we're at 90. we have a list of the people who want to be part of the problem solvers. this ising is i have never seen before in my political life. it is moving and as it moves and as it continues to meet and put forward pieces of legislation are meaningfully to the american people, that is when leadership will begin to is anote and say there viable group that is emerging here. ony are bipartisan focus solutions and checking their anger at the door. they are thinking in terms of generation, not the next election cycle. they are willing to put their politicalfore their party. something interesting is happening here. we have gone from a clinical almost a finished product and i think going into likely getar we will


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